Archive for April 14th, 2009
One of Obama’s main points today is that we can’t go back to what we have been doing:
[W]e have to realize that we cannot go back to the bubble-and-bust economy that led us to this point.
It is simply not sustainable to have a 21st-century financial system that is governed by 20th-century rules and regulations that allowed the recklessness of a few to threaten the entire economy. It is not sustainable to have an economy where in one year, 40 percent of our corporate profits came from a financial sector that was based on inflated home prices, maxed-out credit cards, over-leveraged banks and overvalued assets. It’s not sustainable to have an economy where the incomes of the top 1 percent has skyrocketed while the typical working household has seen their incomes decline by nearly $2,000. That’s just not a sustainable model for long-term prosperity.
For even as too many were out there chasing ever-bigger bonuses and short-term profits over the last decade, we continued to neglect the long-term threats to our prosperity: the crushing burden that the rising cost of health care is placing on families and businesses; the failure of our education system to prepare our workers for a new age; the progress that other nations are making on clean energy industries and technologies while we — we remain addicted to foreign oil; the growing debt that we’re passing on to our children. Even after we emerge from the current recession, these challenges will still represent major obstacles that stand in the way of our success in the 21st century. So we’ve got a lot of work to do.
I recently had the opportunity to view Bill Moyers’ 2007 interview of British intellectual Jonathan Miller, who produced the PBS series, “A Brief History of Disbelief.” It’s a lively and thoughtful interview (it lasts about 20 minutes). Here are some excerpts, but it is well worth watching the entire thing:
For a very long time, atheism was not an affirmation; it was accusation. I mean, it was talked about, that there were atheists, in those same ways that there were Communists under the bed. You know, there were they were they were around, but no one knew where they were or what they looked like, or and so forth. For me, I am only a disbeliever by virtue of the fact that I’m surrounded by people who make assertions to which I cannot lend my assent.
BILL MOYERS: When you hear the word “God,” what goes off in your head? How do your brain cells fire?
JONATHAN MILLER: Well, I mostly, I haven’t the faintest idea what people are talking about.
I hate the word, “spiritual,” anyway because it’s been hijacked by this ghastly sort of new age lot, who talk about “spirituality.” What I would say is, I have moments of – I suppose you might call them transcendent feelings; feelings which rise above what is immediately in front of me.
I’m reluctant to use the word ‘atheist’ to describe my own unshakeable disbelief and that’s not because I’m ashamed, afraid or even embarrassed, but simply because it seems so self evidently true to me that there is no God that giving that conviction a special title, somehow dignifies what it denies.